Oxycodone pills.

Oxycodone pills. Credit: Audrey C. Tiernan

At the same time that Newsday reports on Long Island's worsening pill crisis ["LI's alarming addiction crisis," News, June 17], Nassau County residents will soon sustain severe cuts to chemical dependency and crisis intervention services for young people.

On May 21 and June 18, the Democrats on the county legislature voted against authorizing $41 million in borrowing for tax refunds. Their strategy is to use their voting leverage to get new election districts redrawn.

Since those votes, County Executive Edward Mangano has advised scores of community-based agencies that serve tens of thousands of people that our funding will be reduced as of July 6. In some cases, matching New York State funds will be lost. Some agencies will go out of business, and critical human services will collapse, with no viable contingency plan.

I testified at the May 21 legislative meeting and asked county legislators about a contingency plan. Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt answered that they weren't privy to Mangano's plans, and that families may have to call the Department of Social Services. I reminded him that DSS is not a licensed mental health or chemical dependency treatment agency.

I was flabbergasted that they had no answer to my question. Surely, I thought, with children's lives at stake, our elected leaders would have some thoughtful response.

The federal government bails out powerful financial institutions. Nassau County, a house divided, threatens to throw its most vulnerable citizens overboard.

Andrew Malekoff, Long Beach

Editor's note: The author is the executive director of North Shore Child and Family Guidance Center in Roslyn Heights.

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